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Wil taped an interview segment last month for PBS’s ‘New Jersey Spotlight News’ on the red-hot topic of banned books. The threat of censorship in our school and public libraries is growing at an alarming rate. National Banned Book Week ran from September 18-24 this year, and PBS contacted Wil for an author’s perspective as part of a larger report on the issue. Also interviewed was New Jersey librarian Martha Hickson, who received the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians earlier this year and has endured considerable challenges of her own where book banning is concerned.

Click on the image below to check out the segment.

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One of the fastest-growing new series of middle-grade novels, Wil’s ‘Twisted’ books have now begun distributing to more than a dozen nations around the world, including China, Japan, England, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Australia, and the Czech Republic. This follows the recent success of two new titles—‘A Pool of Deathly Blue’ and ‘The Other’—to add to the original five that launched the series shortly before the Covid pandemic. More ‘Twisted’ stories will be releasing later this year, including ‘The Mystery of Locker 24’, which was announced a short time ago.

The ‘Twisted’ books have already become a staple among library collections, noted for their ‘Twilight Zone’-esque storylines, real-world themes, fully formed characters, and particular appeal among reluctant readers. The Junior Library Guild made the second title, ‘House of a Million Rooms’, one of their Main Selection Picks while also giving it their Gold Standard Award for middle-grade fiction writing. The latest title, ‘The Other’, received a superb review in ‘Booklist’, and the series as a whole has received ringing endorsements from librarians all across the United States, including one from American Library Association president emeritus Betty Turock.

To order titles direct from the publisher—

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We are thrilled to announce that Wil Mara has been chosen by the New Jersey Association of School Librarians as the 2020 New Jersey Author of the Year! Wil is a 35-year veteran of the publishing industry with more than 300 books to his credit. He has penned both fiction and nonfiction for all ages, written over a span of more than thirty years and released through some of the biggest houses in the world, including Rosen, Macmillan, Dorling Kindersley, Scholastic, St. Martin’s Press, Tor, and others. Most recently, his ‘Twisted’ series has become a hit with parents, teachers, librarians, and middle-grade students, including those in the challenging reluctant and hi-lo categories.

Wil also served inside the industry as an editor, production manager, and executive for twenty years, with tenures at Prentice Hall, McGraw-Hill, and Harcourt Brace. He has since entered the realm of Hollywood, now developing his ‘Twisted’ series for television with one of the leading LA-based production companies, as well as three other projects based on his published works. Peripherally, he does numerous appearances to teach writing skills for schools and other institutions, is an executive committee member on the board of directors for the New Jersey Center for the Book, the host of the ‘Voice of American Libraries’ podcast, and was the 2019 recipient of the Literary Lion of New Jersey Award, whose past winners include Gus Friedrich, Dean Emeritus of Rutgers University, and Joyce Carol Oates, National Book Award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist.

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Mark your calendars—on Thursday, October 29th at 3:00 PM EST, the Junior Library Guild will be hosting a live discussion about paranormal and horror elements in modern children’s literature, and Wil is going to be one of their featured guests to talk about his bestselling ‘Twisted’ series. This is one you don’t want to miss!

The JLG webcasts spotlight prominent figures from all around the publishing industry, including authors, illustrators, editors, librarians, and many others. One of their recent guests was Jason Reynolds, the current Library of Congress Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

The Guild has been wonderfully supportive of the ‘Twisted’ books, which have proven particularly popular with hi-lo and reluctant readers (a topic that will likely be included in the discussion). The second title in the series, ‘House of a Million Rooms’, was chosen as one of the Guild’s Main Selection picks in 2019 and received the Gold Standard Award later that year.

More information about the JLG webcasts can be found here—

To be notified of upcoming webcasts—

To see the ‘Twisted’ promotional video—

For librarians, the ‘Twisted’ titles can be ordered direct from the publisher—

Wil’s main site, which includes free downloads of all ‘Twisted’ opening chapters—

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Some weeks ago, Wil interviewed Laura Penn, middle- and high-school librarian for the central school district in Akron, New York, for the ongoing ‘Voice of American Libraries’ podcast. The focus of their conversation was the countless difficulties facing librarians as they enter the start of the first academic year in the age of Covid.

The .mp3 file (running time just under 49 minutes) is HERE.

‘The Voice of American Libraries’ podcast is intended to raise awareness of the many challenges in today’s library profession, both school and public. It feature prominent industry figures discussing the most pressing current issues in the hope of driving more widespread conversation that will lead to best practices and effective solutions.

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